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ANI TAJ (choreographer) is a native New York choreographer, performer, and the founder and artistic director of The Dance Cartel. She choreographs contemporary musicals, plays, concerts, music videos, art parties, and she loves to make dances inspired by Brazilian Carnaval.


Since launching in 2012, The Dance Cartel’s acclaimed signature experience ONTHEFLOOR has toured diverse spaces including Ace Hotel NY, PS1/MoMA, the High Line, Brooklyn Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Velocity Dance Center (Seattle), Bootleg Theater (LA), and OBERON (ART). Taj has choreographed music videos for Yoko Ono, Reggie Watts, Vic Mensa and The Sway Machinery, and her work with the Cartel has received support from NY Live Arts Studio Series, two LMCC Creative Engagement Awards, The Orchard Project and a BAX Summer Residency.


While bridging gaps between dance and music scenes, Taj keeps one foot firmly in the world of live theater – most recently as a featured dancer inNatasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway. Theater choreography highlights include Runaways (NY City Center), Good Men Wanted (NYSAF), The Convent of Pleasure (Cherry Lane Mentor Project),  The Nomad by Liz Swados (The Flea), Lazarus (Associate Choreographer, NYTW), Jesse Eisenberg’s Asuncion (Rattlestick). 

Ani is an Adjunct Professor of dance and movement at NYU (Experimental Theatre Wing, Playwrights Horizons). She offers workshops and classes in tandem with most Cartel projects and periodically holds open classes in NYC

Core Team

SAM PINKLETON (co-director) is a director and choreographer based in New York City. His work on Broadway as a choreographer includes Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (Tony Nomination - Best Choreography); Significant Other; Amélie; Machinal; and Heisenberg. His work has been seen at BAM, Soho Rep, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout, MTC, Theatre For A New Audience, American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Center Theatre Group, Actors Theatre of Louisville, McCarter Theatre, and Kansas City Rep. As a director his work spans from hotel basements to Carnegie Hall. He is a collaborating artist with Pig Iron Theatre Company and The Civilians and is Artistic Associate for New York City Center Encores Off-Center, where he directed Runaways. He does not own any dance shoes.



ALEXANDRA ALBRECHT (dancer) is a freelance dance artist based in New York City. She has collaborated and performed with Hilary Easton, Natalie Green, Ryan McNamara, Jillian Peña, Stacy Grossfield Sperling, and Ani Taj/The Dance Cartel, among others. She appeared on Conan (2013) and The Late Late Show (2015) with Reggie Watts and The Dance Cartel. She was a dancer for the Bessie Schoenberg Choreographic Residency at The Yard in the Summer of 2007 and curated Dance at The Tank from 2009-2012. Alexandra moonlights as a personal chef. She holds a BFA in Dance and a BA in Journalism from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and College of Arts and Science.

AUDREY HAILES (dancer) is a dance-theatre artist raised in Washington DC. Committed to public performance as a necessary tool for wellness and revolution, she received a BFA in Experimental Theatre from NYU. Audrey is a teaching artist, performer with the Dance Cartel and co-host of the women-run radio show Hip Hop and Her Family. Her choreography has been commissioned and curated by Gibney Dance, Dance Theatre Etc, Ebony Golden (Movement Research and BAAD) and Andre Zachary (New York Live Arts).

AZIZA BARNES (dancer) is blk & alive. Born in Los Angeles, she currently lives in Bedstuy, New York. Her first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the Nailgun, was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize and published by Button Poetry. You can find her work in PANK, pluck!, Muzzle, Callaloo, Union Station, and other journals. She is a poetry and non-fiction editor at Kinfolks Quarterly, a Callaloo fellow and graduate from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of TDC & the divine fabrics collective. She likes a good suit & anything to do with Motown.

CHINAZA UCHE (dancer/MC) is an Actor/Dancer living and working in New York City. His recent Film/TV credits include: Nigerian Prince (Which will be out April 2018), Ricki and The Flash (with Meryl Streep), Mother Of George (Sundance 2013), Terry Richardson’s Last Hours (Cannes 2012), Maceo Figueroa on CBS’ Golden Boy, Calvin on NBC’s Deception, and Pete on CBS’ Blue Bloods. He is a Member of The HartBeat Ensemble, Flux Theatre Ensemble and The Dance Cartel. He has also worked on stage with New York Theatre Workshop, Seattle Rep, The Playwright's Realm, The Transport Group, The Talking Band, Witness Relocation, La Mama, Movement Theatre Company, The Everyman Theater, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is a Graduate of the Experimental Theater Wing and The Classical Studio at NYU's Tisch School of The Arts.

CYNDI PERCZEK (dancer) is a Jolombian (Jewish Colombian American) performer and teaching artist based in New York City. She performs and creates regularly with Political Subversities, Haruna Lee, and The Dance Cartel. Recent credits include: Byuioo (Judson Gym), Plum de Force (Bushwick Starr), Onthefloor (Ace Hotel), Drunkfish Oceanrant (JACK, Dixon Place), Without Me (BAX), War Lesbian (Prelude Festival), Political Subversities (The PIT, UCBT, Ars Nova). Education: BFA-NYU-ETW, MS-EDU-THTR-CCNY.

DANIKA MANSO-BROWN (dancer) is a Brooklyn-based dancer, poet, and teaching-artist. She is co-founder of Spoken Verb, a collaborative arts performance group with the goal of speaking to and for underrepresented communities. Her childhood dance training at Ballet Arts Studio, Ballet Hispanico, and NYSSSA led her to LaGuardia Performing Arts High School in Manhattan. She received her B.A. from Duke University in North Carolina and returned to NY following graduation. Manso-Brown has danced with afro-modern company Souloworks and is now a proud member of The Dance Cartel. She constantly strives to keep her accomplishments slightly bigger than her hair.

EMILY BASS (dancer) is a dance artist, choreographer and teacher based in New York City. She holds a BFA from The Ohio State University and has had the pleasure of teaching master classes at Broadway Dance Center, NYU, Horrance Mann School among many studios throughout the Triborough area. She stems from Columbus, Ohio and now resides in Brooklyn, NY where she frolics daily with her twin girls, Harlow and Finn, who are certainly cooler than she will ever be.

JUSTIN PEREZ (dancer)​ is a freelance performer based in New York City. Justin has created work with The Rose Theatre of Omaha, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Columbia University Graduate Theatre, Cease & Desist, and The Dance Cartel.

JOSHUA PALMER (dancer) is a Brooklyn-based artist, teacher, and arts administrator. He holds a BFA in Dance from New York University. In addition to The Dance Cartel, Joshua has been fortunate to dance for notable New York dance makers Doug Elkins, Gina Gibney, Hilary Easton, Douglas Dunn, and Edisa Weeks.

NICHI DOUGLAS (dancer) is an actor, dancer, choreographer and writer. She has performed all over New York and the US as an actor/dancer in the freelance capacity, in addition to performing nationally with The Dance Cartel and literacy-focused children’s company The Story Pirates. She currently teaches Movement and Choreography in at New York University’s Tisch Drama Department – Playwrights Horizons Theatre School studio. Recent/Upcoming credits: Blue Plate Special (Ars Nova ANT fest, Choreographer), Runaways (New York City Center, Associate Choreographer), Pharma Bro: An American Douchical (The Player’s Theater, Choreographer). Education: BFA in Drama, NYU; MFA in Creative Writing, The New School.

SUNNY HITT (dancer) is a NYC-based performer, choreographer, and teaching artist. Performance credits include: iconic solo 'Heartbeat' originally conceived by sound artist Christopher Janney (MIT, Janney Sound/PhenomenArts) and choreographer Sara Rudner (Gramercy Theater, 2014), The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park ('The Tempest,' 2015), and Witness Relocation ('The Loon,' 2016). Her choreography has been shown in NYC at The Tank and Mark Morris Dance Center. Sunny teaches movement workshops at Playwrights Horizons Theater School and Abrons Arts Center, and most recently served as Movement Director for "The Real AD Show" (NYU Abu Dhabi, 2017). She is a certified yoga instructor and proud member of TDC since 2013.

THOMAS GIBBONS (dancer) is a native Bostonian multidisciplinary artist whose work applies performance and dance tenets to fashion, photography, film and design. Recent collaborators include Band of Outsiders, Document Journal, MiLK Group, Tom Ford, NOWNESS, Vogue Ukraine and artists Penny Arcade, Ryan McNamara, Sigrid Lauren and Anne Imhof. His choreographic work, Every Man’s Home Is His Wife’s Castle, has been shown at Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place and Brooklyn Studios for Dance. Graduate of NYU.



DJ AVERAGE JO  (OntheFloor DJ) is a Brooklyn-based hip hop and live mash-up DJ/Producer. She is Original Plumbing Magazine's NY Resident DJ, and regularly plays parties in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. She was recently nominated for 2 Go Magazine Reader's Choice awards for Best DJ in both hip hop and electronic categories. DJ Average Jo likes grape juicy juice out of a box.

​John Albano (sound design) is an actor, writer, director, musician and sound designer. While studying theatre NYU, he mounted several of his own plays including Nylon (Experimental Theatre Wing) and Solitude (Eleven Benevolent Elephants). His directing credits include Joe Penhall's BLUE/ORANGE and Lanford Wilson's Home Free! (both at NYU). John works frequently as a sound designer/composer on projects for Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project, including their recent ten year anniversary tour of The Laramie Project. He is the co-creator of the web series It's A Nice Building.

STEPHEN (STEVO) ARNOCZY is a freelance media designer native to New York City. He attended NYU (TSOA ‘04-‘08) and in 2010, formed LiveMusicVideo, a company dedicated equally to choreography and projected video content. Stevo is an associate video designer at Imaginary Media Artists. He is a member of ANIMALS Performance Group and a founding company member of HarunaLee. Recently he’s worked with: The Stein|Holum Project, Fresh Ground Pepper, Ping Chong Company, PRELUDE Festival, Sleep No More, Club Girls, and Maya Ciarrocchi. He has been commissioned for work by photographer Mike Ruiz, and recording artist Jose Feliciano. His work has been seen in NYMF, and at 3LD, Theater Row, XL Nightclub, Kent 285, The Living Theater, and The Bushwick Starr. His video design for BIO-HAZARD: A Relative Comedy starring Sarah Elizabeth Greer won the 2013 United Solo Festival Award for BEST MULTIMEDIA.

MADDY TALIAS is an NYC-based photographer and filmmaker. She has been commissioned by Adidas, Triumph Motorcycles, Stance Socks, Jet Blue, Nylon Magazine, Damn Joan, Politico, A&E Networks, iHeartRadio, and THE DANCE CARTEL. Her covers many different subject matters from live performance to action sports to fashion.

DAVID HYMAN (Costume Designer): is a Brooklyn-based costume designer who occasionally dabbles in object and puppet design. He has a passion for interdisciplinary works and innovative theatrical experiences. He has worked with companies such as The Dance Cartel, Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Barrow Street Theatre, Clubbed Thumb Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, Writers' Theatre, Kansas City Rep, American Theatre Co. and About Face Theatre, Sideshow Theatre Company, amongst others. For more info visit

JOE CANTOLUPO (Lighting Designer)

VADIM LEDVIN (Lighting Design) NYU BFA 2009, MFA Pending 2014. Believes in wholesome and organic design. And undertaking to make a thing or an action beautiful by whatever means relevant and possible, a collaborative activity. Some credits include Pink Floyd’s The Wall at Playwrights Horizons. The Illusion and I Have Loved Strangers at NYU. Various concerts for Tisch Dance, productions at Columbia University, music at Bowery Ballroom, Sullivan Hall. For a full portfolio please contact me at Vadim also designs venues, objects, lamps and is a production manager and teacher. Vadim loves oranges. To get to know him better please email him (me) at the address above. Thank you team, THANK YOU ANI, thank you for the opportunity, thank you family, thank you Mom, thank you Gray.

​DJ MAX PEARL (OntheFloor DJ) is a Boston transplant with a taste for sweaty R&B, funky rap sh*t, and a healthy dose of Caribbean dancehall magic. He's DJ'd all over the place over the last four years: drag shows in Cambridge, warehouses in Brooklyn, basements in Philly, outdoor techno tents in teh middle of nowhere Massachussetts... He literally never misses a beat and he'll take requests, if your request doesn't suck; he also might just play Beyoncé remixes all night if you guys are into that. 

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